Digest: 51 new cars for Amtrak built or under construction

Metro-North vending machines now selling protective items; Pennsylvania town's study projects $350 million in benefits from rail service
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Monday morning rail news in brief:

Equipment update reports 51 cars for Amtrak regional service built or under construction; first Charger due in early 2021

Fifty-one Siemens cars in the order for Amtrak state-supported service in California and the Midwest have either been completed or are under construction, according to the end-of-June report by the Next Generation Equipment Committee, which includes representatives of Amtrak, the Federal Railroad Administration, host freight railroads, manufacturers, and state and other operators. Cars for the Illinois Department of Transportation portion of that order are scheduled to begin shipments near the end of July. A total of 137 cars are on order, replacing the original order for 130 bilevel cars by Nippon Sharyo, which withdrew from the process when it was unable to produce cars meeting required safety specifications [see “Expensive questions surface with changed passenger car order,” Trains News Wire, Nov. 9, 2017]. The report also indicates the first Siemens Charger long-distance locomotive for Amtrak remains on pace for delivery in February or March 2021; Amtrak has ordered 75 of the locomotives [see “Siemens to supply 75 new Tier 4 locomotives to Amtrak,” Trains News Wire, Dec. 21, 2018].

Metro-North introduces protective-equipment vending machines
Vending machines at 12 Metro-North Railroad stations are now equipped to sell personal protective equipment, including masks, hand sanitizers and gloves. Metro-North President Catherine Rinaldi said the machines are “a key part of welcoming back more riders throughout our service region.” A list of the stations with the machines is available here. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority had previously introduced similar vending machines at selected New York subway stations [see “Kansas City Southern de Mexico president to retire,” News Wire Digest, July 1, 2020.]

Phoenixville, Pa., study projects more than $350 million in benefits from passenger service
A study for efforts to return passenger rail service to Phoenixville, Pa., 28 miles northwest of Philadelphia, estimates such service would generate more than $350 million in benefits over a 30-year period. MontgomeryNews.com reports the study was undertaken under the auspices of a task force by Mayor Peter Urscheler as part of an application for a $3.1 million federal grant for planning and purchase land for a railroad station and related facilities. The largest benefits come from appreciation of property value, travel time savings, and productive time for passengers using the train rather than an automobile. The biggest obstacles to restoring service are heavy use of the rail line through Phoenixville by Norfolk Southern, and a narrow, single-track tunnel built in 1835 which would complicate scheduling or require a costly replacement.


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